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Found 8 results

  1. Lets face it, a week cant go by without a technician comeback or a customer service issue. Mistakes will happen, theres no avoiding it. Obviously, you need to put systems and procedures in place to reduce the chances of mistakes occurring, but the truth is everyone at one time or another we will drop the ball. The key thing to remember when a mistake happens is to keep the lines of communications open. With every mistake there is learning experience that everyone in the shop can benefit from. Discuss the issue with your tech or service advisor. Get all the facts. Dont assign blame; the person who committed the mistake already knows he or she dropped the ball. Draw out of the person ways to improve and ask that person if it would ok to share the findings with the rest of the staff. We all need to adopt the culture of continuous improvement. We can sometime learn more from mistakes then when things go smoothly. One last note; I am not suggesting to ignore habitual mistakes or not recognize when someone refuses to improve or cannot do the job. In some cases you may have to let someone go.
  2. Legendary College basketball coach John Wooden, would always preach to his players that it’s the details of the game that matters most. That worrying about the score was futile if the execution and the details of the game were not performed with consistency and to the best of everyone’s abilities. In other words, the score will take care of itself and the wins will come if every detail of the game is consistently executed properly. In the shop environment, only worrying about getting the car done, without performing all the steps properly will lead to an eventual breakdown in your workflow system. It will lead to higher comebacks, lower profits and poor customer satisfaction. To have a properly working workflow system, that minimizes comebacks, improves overall quality and improves customer satisfaction, requires paying attention to the details of the workflow process in a consistent manner. Is the customer write up process done properly each time? Are the technicians following the workflow process and every checklist done properly every time? Are the technicians short-cutting the process in an attempt to book hours? And, perhaps the main killer of the shop environment and workflow: a sloppy shop. Yes, a sloppy shop leads to a breakdown in the system. Disorder in the shop equals disorder in the workflow, which equals increased comebacks, increased chances of people getting hurt, unhappy customers and lower profits. Time is wasted finding tools and equipment. People tend not to care enough about the condition of the customer’s car because the shop does not put an emphasis on neatness and order in the shop. Cars will leave with grease marks, dirty floor mats and job details forgotten. The first step in any process is the shop environment and that means shop organization. You cannot have an efficient workflow until you have shop order. Everyone must be held accountable for keeping order. And it starts with the tech’s work space. Want to improve production, profits and customer satisfaction? Pay attention to the details, focus on quality, create a well-defined workflow process and maintain order in the shop.
  3. The issue with part quality and returns is on every shop owner's mind these days. It doesn't matter if you buy from NAPA, CARQUEST, Advance or O'Reillys. Poor quality parts, comebacks and getting the wrong part hurts our bottom line. I don't know how many of you track your losses with regard to comebacks and returns, I do. And I can tell you, it is doing more damage to your profit margin than you may think. I don't have the answer but I will bring up one fact. In the industry's effort to reduce prices, we have sent a lot of manufacturing business overseas. In order to maintain or reduce price, too often quality suffers. But who's is to blame? The part companies, the shop owner's who are seeking low prices, the consumer? The truth is, the time for pointing blame is gone. We need to change our mindset, not chose parts by price, but by quality. We need to start sending a message to our suppliers that we want quality not just price. We also need to insure that we don't have internal issues. Are our techs properly trained and do we have an adequate quality control system in place. Our reputation and the safety of the motoring public depends on it. Here is one other fact that you cannot deny: If you reduce comebacks, improve quality, sell quality parts at a reasonable margin, you WILL make more money, have happier customers and have a lot less stress. Here's a link to an interesting article on part quality from Aftermarket Business World http://www.searchautoparts.com/aftermarket-business/opinion-commentary-distribution/warranty-returns-plague-aftermarket-industry?cid=95879
  4. Everyone shop owner I speak with today is concerned about the quality of the parts they purchase. And while many of us enjoy low prices on some part lines, we do not enjoy the comebacks and poor quality of many of the parts we purchase. The long term effect is anyone's guess, but it cannot be good. The loss of revenue and the potential loss of consumer confidence is perhaps the biggest worry. With another Cardone Steering Rack failure, I am forced to once again turn to the dealer for many of the aftermarket parts that I have lost confidence in I can tell you that my local CARQUEST/Advance has not turned its back on me or other shops in the area. And while they are going thru their own challenges with the Advance acquisition deal, they have been steadfast in their continued loyalty to their customers, the independent repair shops in the Putnam/Westchester New York area. They are listening and working with us, attempting to contact Cardone about their failure rate, and I also appreciate their honesty. It gives my renewed hope that we are on the right track. I just hope Cardone and the rest of the aftermarket is listening.
  5. The True Cost of Comebacks Comebacks are a hot topic today, particularly with the frustration over poor quality parts. You need to track all comebacks, determine the reason (Tech error, part error, training issue, other) and then calculate the true cost of the comeback. Here are a few things to consider: - The loss of time when performing the comeback; time that the tech can performing other work and generating profit - The misc costs, such as overhead costs, supplies, cleaners, etc - Towing costs, rental, etc - Cost to morale - Reputation damage - Reduction to your profit margin For every part issue, you need to inform your supplier, whether it's NAPA, CARQUEST, Advance Auto, O'Reilly's, or any other. Sit down with suppliers on a regular basis. Dont return defective parts until you have listed the parts and maintain a report. Document everything. Part issues are increasing. Every shop owner I speak to is frustrated over this. Remember, comebacks kill your bottom line, the more comebacks you have, the more its killing your profits.
  6. Due to our frustrations with part quality from the aftermarket on some lines, we have resorted to going to the new car dealer for some parts. A decision that does not sit well with me and one that I may end up regretting. To me, it's like supplying my enemy with ammunition. Recently we had an issue with a steering gear, purchased at a local Chevy Dealer, that did not function correctly and we had to redo the job. When discussing the issue with the dealer, we were told that they are seeing an increase in their part comebacks too. These are GM reman units. We are we going with this? As I have stated time and time again in the past; will this race to the bottom with looking for the best price end up to be our demise? We have to get back to quality. Our industry reputation is at stake. We really need to have a coalition of all the part companies and repair shops across the country to come to terms with the reality. We need to rethink "price" and seek "Quality" Let's face it, as an industry we are not getting any richer with lower priced, poor quality parts anyway. So, let's take a deep breathe and dig ourselves out of this mess. This is not an Advance Problem, or a CARQUEST problem, or a NAPA problem....this is an industry-wide problem. And we need to start fixing it, today.


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